Lord Krishna’s Pose

Be careful what you wish for because you will get it.  I’ve heard that saying many times, but in this case it rings very true.

Like almost everyone I know, I’m a striver.  I like to work hard and rest hard.  Either way, working or resting, I like to get it right.  In yoga, like so many of us in the west, I want to work my muscles as well as achieve peace.  If my ass isn’t firm, enlightenment doesn’t seem quite as appealing.

Each morning a different teacher leads us in a two-hour practice starting at 6 AM.  In most posture classes, you warm up to a challenging “pinnacle” posture.  Today we warm up, get onto our feet, and our instructor Liz announces that we are moving into a balance pose.  I inhale deeply, ready for the challenge.

“Lord Krishna’s Pose,” Liz says.  My mind rebels.  This posture (see Lord Krishna below) is very gentle.  I don’t remember any of the internal benefits and it is definitely not working anything on a muscular level.  I feel silly standing there holding a pretend flute.

Over the course of many asana classes throughout the last few days, I resent being asked to do simple exercises or to relax very long.  Resentment seems to me the opposite of being completely present and open to whatever may arise – the primary goal of this journey.

I look up Lord Krishna later.  In many ancient traditions, he symbolizes personal devotion, a love for the divine that transcends formal religion.

I look up the pose itself and find that it is supposed to balance the brain hemispheres, regulate the nervous system and calm anxiety.

If I hadn’t been so anxious about the benefits of the posture, I could have reaped them!  And, as my friend Bexie tells me, you don’t always have to be achieving something.  “Sometimes,” she says, “it’s nice to have just a moment of grace.”

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